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Nigerian President Plans to Run in Next Year’s Poll, Says a Senior Aide

In Nigeria, a senior presidential aide says President Goodluck Jonathan will run as the ruling party's candidate in next year's elections.

Cairo Ojougboh, Presidential Advisor on National Assembly Matters, says Mr. Jonathan will run because in his words, “There is no moral justification to ask him not to run.”

This, despite the PDP zoning formula which reserves the position for a northern candidate. Jonathan has delayed the appointment of a vice president because of intense scramble for the job by influential senators and governors.

Innocent Chukwuma is Executive Director of a voter education organization, The Cleen Foundation. He says the development was widely expected.

“It not indeed a surprise because one has seen it coming in the last one or two weeks with all the maneuvering they are doing in the polity. But it comes as a complete shock to me because it goes against the grain of everything Jonathan promised when he came in and the whole expectation that his coming in would enable the conduct of a credible election.”

Chukwuma disagreed with supporters of the president that his running will bring about stability in the country. He says Mr. Jonathan’s candidacy will not be in the best interests of the country.

“I think what has happened is that Jonathan has used the machinery of the state to basically intimidate and subdue the party hierarchy.”

He says there will be a stiff northern opposition to a Jonathan candidacy, but that the president will have his way.

“You know in Nigeria, the votes have stopped to count. From the 2003 elections, the votes stopped counting in Nigeria. At the moment, it is the expectation that northern opposition would be massive and vociferous. That’s why he wants to secure the state agencies that would play active role in this election.”